In order to get the best out of his new Aston Villa acquisition, Unai Emery must “make him feel important.”

As we explained on Thursday, the sombre mood surrounding Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo has lifted following his performance against Ukraine for Italy.

The playmaker was everywhere in that game, with some calling him a surprise leader of the team, which was a stark contrast to the criticism he had received just a day or so earlier after costing his nation three points against North Macedonia for giving away an unnecessary free-kick on the edge of the box that was subsequently converted.

Now, there is nothing but love for the Aston Villa summer signing, with free agent sports director Fabio Cordella giving his two cents about Zaniolo on TV Play, relayed by Tutto Juve.

He said: “Zaniolo was handled badly. I have a crazy respect for him. I would like to have him at Juventus because I thought it could have been a club that would have broken him in. Today, we would have seen a different Zaniolo. In Turin, they have a different discipline. In my opinion, Zaniolo is a crazy talent.

“He is criticised by those that understand nothing about football. You can discuss his character and approach, but football wise, you cannot say anything to him. You have to make him feel important. He can give a lot at a time when you are in a bad situation.

“I don’t think he needs anyone to teach him football. I see mental issues due to other aspects. He blinds himself sometimes. I’ve been watching him since he was a kid and he is natural on the field. There’s mental work to be done. If you’re not psychologically well, you can’t play football. You need your head. He needs serenity.”

That’s something many are hoping he will get at Aston Villa with a manager who clearly fully trusts him, considering how hard both Unai Emery and Monchi fought to bring him to Villa Park from Galatasaray.

The Spanish manager has been easing him into England football since his arrival, giving him two substitute appearances in the Premier League, totalling 42 minutes to date.

That will likely increase considerably as the season goes on, and Zaniolo’s performance against Ukraine will undoubtedly have pleased everyone at Aston Villa, showing just how well he can bounce back from a bad display.

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